>> but that's the trick, you've got figure out how to get everybody to give you that penny and the best way to do it is if you're already billing them, you find ways to stick in all these extra little charges. >> reporter: it didn't always used to be this way. here, for example is a scranton, pennsylvania electric bill from 1937, back when public utilities were strictly regulated. >> it's a very simple bill, it's not even a full page of paper, and it has the account number, the dates that are covered, the meter reading, this person used three kilowatts per hour of electricity, and the price written down here at the bottom. >> reporter: today's bill, by contrast-- this one from phoenix, arizona-- has 22 line items. >> there's a charge for metering. ery month ty're going to charge you for the meter. there's a charge for the bill, $1.86 just for preparing your bill. there's an environmental benefit surcharge, a competition rules compliance surcharge. so we're going to have competition in the market, and you're going to pay to have competition in the market. >> reporter: competition, of course, is one of the goals of de-regulation.